The student body of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School will celebrate the 2018-19 academic year and its 37 graduating seniors during weekend festivities May 17-19.
The Rev. Thomas E. Macfie Jr., University of the South chaplain and dean of All Saints’ Chapel, will complete his work as chaplain at the end of the next academic year (June, 2020). Macfie was appointed chaplain in 2006 and dean of the Chapel in 2010.
For more information, a Facebook page
For more information go to https://www.stmaryssewanee.org/events/spiritual-le.... The deadline to register is June 2.
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Nestled back a ways from the main road up the Mountain, Mickey Suarez, Michael Coffey and Peter Hunter hammer away on a smart, 750-square-foot home at 1835 Sherwood Rd.
The home is the first of a group of seven sites that are planned for Sherwood Springs area.
The project is being led by Housing Sewanee, Inc., (HSI) which was founded in 1993 and modeled after Habitat for Humanity. Since its creation, the organization has built 17 houses, all with no-interest loans and financial counseling for locals who are in the market for an affordable path to home ownership.
The total cost for the home has been estimated at $70,000, taking into account that a significant number of the materials used in the build were donated and that labor was all volunteer.
Construction on the home began about two years ago. Now, just a few months away from the home being complete, the organization is taking applications for potential occupants.
“We found this piece of land about three years ago, and it’s a little more than six acres. One of the key parts of the property is that it has a natural spring,” said Dixon Myers, co-founder of Housing Sewanee.
A key component of the home is its energy efficiency, which is made possible by the top-grade insulation, the scrap building materials that were donated from various community members, the solar collection system, and the geothermal electric system.
Michael Coffey, visiting professor of physics at the University, spearheaded the geothermal system and plumbing. Coffey said the main idea behind the geothermal system is to keep the cost of utilities low.
“We have 1,200 feet in 3-foot coils lying on top of each other, buried 5-feet underground. The main unit is a heat pump. What a heat pump does , if it’s used in a house setting, is exchanges heat from the outside air with the inside air. If it needs to cool, then it dumps heat into the outside from the inside. It works like an air conditioner, a series of compressions and expansions with some kind of cryogenic fluid,” he said. “Without electricity or gas, there is no energy expended on heating or cooling the air, so it’s a much lower utility bill with this system.”
Mickey Suarez, Housing Sewanee design and construction manager, said the utilities are something he and the others at the organization will be monitoring.
“We are going to start construction next door on our garage that is going to be used as a training center. We will be monitoring the utility use on a 24-hour basis. We’ll have a good handle going forward, and will be able to compare that with other designs. Each house will vary in size and footprint, and it will vary in some of the amenities to try to save energy,” he said.
For all that are involved, the energy-efficiency and low cost are worthwhile, but the goal of the project comes down to one thing—pouring into the Sewanee community.
“You give someone a place to live, the opportunity to fulfill a dream of owning a home, it can really change their whole outlook,” Coffey said.
The application process for the home is open until mid-May. For more information or to apply, visit <housingsewaneeinc.com>.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“I have no doubt in my mind the officers saved the woman’s life,” said Monteagle Police Chief Virgil McNeese recognizing officers Zach Fults and David Strieby at the April 29 Monteagle City Council meeting. On March 30, an unidentified motorist dropped off an unresponsive woman at the Monteagle 911 Center. Called to the scene, Fults and Strieby assessed the situation and administered nasal Narcan, a drug used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. The woman’s breathing and heart rate immediately returned to normal.
“Law enforcement is a lot more than writing tickets and working wrecks,” said McNeese in commending the officers. “A lot of times you have two seconds to make a decision that will change someone’s life forever.”
During the business portion of the meeting, the council issued a business permit to Dollar Tree, reviewed a request from a resident who had no access to his property, considered banning pit bull dogs in the city limits, and passed a resolution that will accommodate extending a section of the Mountain Goat Trail.
Dollar Tree will be located at the site currently occupied by Family Dollar, which will close on May 5. Dollar Tree plans to hire 30 part-time employees. The grand opening is scheduled for May 30.
Mitchell Lawson who owns land on the back side of Laurel Lake with no road access asked the council to construct an access road in keeping with the provisions of the 1975 agreement, which deeded the city property to construct the lake. Lawson’s father sold Monteagle the land for one dollar. The agreement proposed an access road be constructed on the spillway.
“Federal law says you can’t land lock a piece of land,” Lawson insisted. Developers are interested in purchasing the property. Other access options include an easement for a road through the Black property or Clifftops development.
“The Black property sounds like the best bet,” said Vice Mayor Tony Gilliam. The council will consult with city attorney Harvey Cameron.
Reporting on Codes Enforcement, John Knost said North Bluff drive residents have complained about pit bull dogs chasing neighborhood cats and the UPS driver. Knost suggested the council consider an ordinance similar to that adopted by South Pittsburg to ban pit bull dogs in the city limits. In South Pittsburg those already owning the dogs were required to confine them behind a six foot fence.
“It could be any dog,” said alderwoman Jessica Blalock. “We don’t need to worry about pit bulls. We need to enforce the leash law.”
The leash law hasn’t been enforced, Gilliam conceded. “If we enforce the leash law, violators will go before the judge, and it’s out of our hands.”
Mountain Goat Trail Alliance board president Nate Wilson provided an overview of a plan to extend the trail from Clifftops to the interstate. The Tennessee Department of Transportation has federal grant money for a pedestrian walkway, Wilson said. Wilson and Tennessee Senator Janice Bowling persuaded TDOT to upgrade the proposed walkway from a five foot sidewalk to a ten foot to twelve foot pedestrian facility to be used as part of the trail. The MGTA will pay for reengineering the project. There would be no cost to Monteagle. Monteagle’s only commitment would be to facilitate tie-ins to existing infrastructure. Wilson doesn’t anticipate any tie-ins being needed.
The council approved a resolution allowing Mayor David Sampley to sign the paperwork needed for the project to move forward.
The council meets next on May 20, rather than on the regular meeting date of the last Monday of the month.
by Sarah Beavers, Messenger Staff Writer
Michael and Netta Karr celebrated the grand opening of Fine Arts at the Mountain with an open house and ribbon cutting on April 27. Michael and Netta created Fine Arts as a creative safe space that “helps to develop the whole person,” said Michael.
Michael and Netta came to Sewanee a year and a half ago, fell in love with the Mountain, and decided to open up the store.
Fine Arts at the Mountain offers classes on a variety of musical instruments for students and professionals. They also offer repairs on instruments. “When you have a nice instrument, it draws you to it and makes you want to play,” said Michael. The music store offers musical instruments and accessories, a band instrument rental program, and a comprehensive music education program.
Michael was raised in a music store and was even part of a band. He began playing the violin at the age of nine, but the guitar is his instrument of choice. Music has had a profound influence on Michael. “Music is what life sounds like,” said Michael.
In 1993, Michael and his family moved from the West Coast to attend Florida Baptist Theological College in Graceville. “God called Michael to ministry,” said Netta. He earned a bachelor of arts in church music. He then went on to Southern Seminary in Louisville, Ky., where he got a masters of arts in worship.
Michael is ordained and has served for more than 20 years as a music minister and worship pastor. His church members wanted to become more active in the service by playing instruments. Parishioners wanting to learn how to play plus a growing interest within the community drove the need for access to high quality instruments at affordable prices.
In 2008, Michael and Netta opened their first store, called Fine Arts at the Beach, in Panama City, Fla. Both realized they were called to teaching. Michael and Netta’s coaching style is self-described as “it’s more than just teaching. It is going on the musical journey with them, where their inner creative part is expressed through music,” said Michael. “And, a music studio needs to be a place where you can be free to make discoveries,” said Michael.
Fine Arts at the Mountain is located at 91 University Ave. Store hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday. Call (931) 463-2400 for information or go to their website at www.fineartsatthemountain.com to learn more about music instruction for individuals or groups, and the instruments.
The Sewanee Police Department is investigating acts of vandalism that occurred in Guerry Auditorium on the University campus late Saturday night or early Sunday morning, April 27 or 28. The damage was significant; it will take a few days to determine the full extent and remediation needs.
The vandalism included broken furniture, damaged equipment, and spray paint over walls and other items. In addition, fire extinguishers were discharged over a large portion of the auditorium.
Music events scheduled in Guerry for the days following the incident were moved to other venues. The University would like to thank St. Andrew’s-Sewanee for opening McCrory Hall for a Monday evening performance.
Guerry Auditorium often is used as overflow space for the University Baccalaureate service, and it was intended to be used for this purpose on Saturday, May 11. Facilities Management is hopeful that use of the space will be possible by then, but additional cleaning and inspections must be completed before that decision can be made.
Similarly, the University is hopeful—but not yet certain—that the auditorium will be available for the start of the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. More information will follow as repairs are made.
The Sewanee Police Department is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the identification of the person or persons responsible for the recent acts of vandalism that occurred in Guerry Auditorium. Anyone having any information about the vandalism is asked to contact the Sewanee Police Department (931) 598-1111. SPD Investigator Jody Bray will continue to follow every lead received.
Guerry Auditorium Vandalism: “malicious and…intentional”
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“This senseless incident is more than regrettable; it is malicious and certainly appears to be intentional. It also does real harm to the University’s program of events and, even more, to our reputation,” said Vice-Chancellor John McCardell in response to the destructive vandalism at Guerry Auditorium last weekend.
Facilities Management is leading the remediation with assistance from other departments who have expertise related to the systems and equipment damaged. The University predicts it will be some time before they can accurately estimate the dollar-value cost of replacing the broken furniture and damaged equipment along with the cost of cleanup and remediation necessary as a result of the fire extinguisher discharge in the auditorium and almond-colored spray paint disfiguring the furniture and walls.
Baccalaureate overflow was scheduled to be held in Guerry on May 11, and the auditorium has traditionally offered the arena for Sewanee Summer Music Festival concerts, with the festival scheduled to begin June 15. The University is evaluating the impact to all events that occur at Guerry and will share plans for scheduling going forward once the extent of the damage can be more accurately assessed.
As a result of the vandalism, there will be increased police officer presence around campus. In order not to hamper the ongoing investigation no further details about the vandalism can be released.
“We are making every effort to discover the perpetrator(s) and hope that anyone with any knowledge of the incident will come forward with that information to the Police Department,” said McCardell. “We are offering a sizable reward for information leading to the identification of those responsible.”
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Eli Rose ran down the hill behind Sewanee Elementary School, dressed in rain pants and ready to explore. He and the rest of the students made it to the bottom of the hill and began to settle in around the circle of tree stump stools. After a moment, he shrieked.
One of his classmates almost sat on the slug that was occupying the stump next to him.
“Be careful!” he yelled. “The slug is already sitting there, so that’s the slug’s stump.”
And so it was.
Eli and his classmates were spending Friday morning outside as they do every Friday, rain or shine. This allows natural environment to become an alternative classroom, which is something administrators at SES have been exploring since last summer.
“We went out our very first Friday back in August the first week of school, and the first day with all 36 of our kindergartners, it was pouring down rain. It was wonderful! We saw a luna moth, put slugs on each others’ heads and we had to stomp in puddles too,” said kindergarten teacher Kelli Camp.
Inspiration for the project came from Red Bank Elementary School just outside of Chattanooga, and, with funding from the Sewanee Parent Organization through the Sewanee Community Chest, kindergarten teachers Michelle Whaley and Kelli Camp and pre-school teacher Kim Casey completed the level one Forest School Teacher Training. Camp has since received the level two training.
Principal Kim Tucker said the purpose of the nature-based education is the education of the whole child.
“Forest Friday really helps us with that. Using our community and using our forest has enhanced the learning, and the kindergarten teachers are already planning to do a piece of this every day instead of just Fridays,” she said.
Camp said there are benefits for both the teachers and the students.
“For the students, they’re getting to experience most of our science standards first-hand — the change of the seasons, getting to observe plant and animal life and the weather. What better way to learn than be right in the middle of it?” she said. “The children have learned respect for each other and nature. We are learning that, even on rainy days, there is so much to enjoy. And for the teachers, we get to experience nature through the eyes of our students. Their excitement and wonder confirms that this is how our kids should be learning.”
Camp said parents have been very supportive as well, providing rain pants and boots for the students and making notes of what the children experiment with on their own in the home.
One parent said her child now brings all sorts of sticks inside and watches closely as she makes waves in the bathtub. “Several have joined us in the woods and only have good things to say about this program,” Camp said.
Eli’s mom Robin said she’s glad Eli and his classmates are getting the opportunity to spend more time outside — and less time in a classroom looking out the window.
“I feel like kids are indoors way too much, and Eli is an outside boy anyway. Being out in the fresh air and sunshine is good for them. I think it’s awesome that they can do classrooms,” she said. “He talks about it every day.”
Camp said for the 2019–20 school year, they hope to expand the program and institute a 2-hour daily period of exploration.
“We will spend the last 2 hours of every school day in our forest classroom, and our hope in the future is to provide every student with the gear that they need each day. This school year, thanks to the Sewanee Parent Organization, the Community Chest and Mountain Outfitters, we received rain pants for each child, and Bogs donated 20 pairs of children’s boots. Taking the stress off the parents and providing gear ensures that each child is ready to explore each day,” Camp said.
Long-term, Camp hopes the school’s work with Forest Fridays will instill in the students a lifelong joy of learning and a constant wonder for nature.
“I see a worm! I see a worm! Come quick!” Eli was tipping the tree stump stools to look for worms.
His classmate Layla wanted to take some worms home for the family compost, and classmate Adelaide was helping. For his mom, his growing excitement about the natural world is due to the forest program.
“He likes to tell me everything they found, what they did and what they play when they’re outside. And at home, he’s always looking for something outside or showing me some cool bug,” she said. “We’re just really appreciative of the experience he’s getting to have. He is learning a lot.”